Los Angeles reportedly may factor that into whether or not it makes a deal at the trade deadline this season.
Sources tell @CBSsports that a complicating factor on whether or not the Lakers acquire an impact player in the next 24 hours is the belief within the organization they could have a chance to acquire Donovan Mitchell this summer. Knicks also could be in play.
— Bill Reiter (@sportsreiter) February 7, 2024
Mitchell will be in the final guaranteed season of his contract with the Cavs in the 2024-25 season. He has a player option for the 2025-26 campaign. A few months ago, Bill Simmons said Mitchell leaving the Cavs is the “worst kept secret” in the NBA.
Even though Cleveland is one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference this season – the team enters Wednesday night’s game against the Washington Wizards as the No. 2 seed in the East – it appears that the Lakers and even the New York Knicks could look to make a move for Mitchell in the offseason.
If Mitchell doesn’t agree to re-sign with Cleveland, it could force the franchise to trade him rather than risk losing him for nothing the following offseason in free agency.
As for the Lakers, the team may need to hang onto one of its best assets – its 2029 first-round pick – if it wants a real chance to acquire Mitchell in a deal in the offseason.
That could hinder the team’s chances of adding a player this season that could help it compete for an NBA title. The Lakers made the Western Conference Finals last season, but they are just 27-25 this season and hold the No. 9 spot in the West.
Mitchell was an All-NBA selection last season and has made two straight All-Star games in Cleveland. He was acquired by the Cavs prior to last season in a deal with the Utah Jazz.
It’s unclear exactly what the package would be that the Lakers would attempt to put together for Mitchell, but the team could look to part ways with players like Rui Hachimura and Austin Reaves who are on reasonable contracts and are pretty young.
This season, Mitchell is averaging 28.2 points, 5.4 rebounds and 6.4 assists per game while shooting 47.1 percent from the field and 35.4 percent from beyond the arc. He’s one of the best guards in the NBA, but he could leave the Cavs in a tough position if he decides to ride out his contract and test free agency.
It’l be interesting to see how the Lakers proceed at the deadline this season and whether or not they make a competitive offer for the Cavs star this coming summer.